Spinach extract could help prevent obesity, study shows

A natural compound hidden away in spinach has been shown to reduce food cravings between meals and could help prevent obesity, a Swedish scientist said on Monday.

Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, a professor of appetite regulation at Lund University, found the compound, known as thylakoid, while looking for ways to slow digestion and alleviate hunger pangs.

The compound functions differently to processed foods, which tend to be digested only in the upper intestine.

This prevents key hormones that make us feel full from being released to the brain, according to a statement from the university.

"I like to say our intestines are unemployed," Erlanson-Albertsson said.

A test group of 15 people who took the compound every morning reported that it had become easier to resist the temptation to eat between meals.

Erlanson-Albertsson discovered the compound after speaking to her husband, a scientist researching photosynthesis.

He steered her in the direction of thylakoids, a compound in green leaves believed to slow down fat digestion, meaning the whole intestine has time to get involved, the university said.

But eating spinach itself is not enough. It has to be crushed, filtrated and passed through a centrifuge, freeing the thylakoids from the plant's cells.

"Our bodies can't break it down from fresh directly," the university said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Seaweeds high in guluronate inhibit fat absorption

Mar 03, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at Newcastle University have identified the seaweeds which are most effective at preventing us from absorbing fat, opening up exciting possibilities for making everyday foods healthier.

How fiber prevents diabetes and obesity

Jan 14, 2014

Scientists have known for the past twenty years that a fiber-rich diet protects the body against obesity and diabetes but the mechanisms involved have so far eluded them. A French-Swedish team including researchers ...

High-fat diets may spur overeating, mouse study suggests

Aug 15, 2013

(HealthDay)—Many people who have tried to give up fatty foods in favor of healthier choices have found themselves obsessing over cookies or chips. Choosing a salad over a cheeseburger can feel like a Herculean ...

Delaying fat digestion to curb appetite

Aug 19, 2010

Institute of Food Research scientists have discovered an unexpected synergy that helps break down fat. The discovery provides a focus to find ways to slow down fat digestion, and ultimately to create food structures that ...

Recommended for you

Report highlights progress, challenges in health IT

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Progress has been made toward widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), although there are still barriers to adoption of advanced use of EHRs, according to a report published ...

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods

17 hours ago

It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center ...

Outdoor enthusiasts need a lightning plan

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Those partaking in outdoor sports and activities need to be aware of the threat posed by lightning and take appropriate safety measures, experts say.

User comments